“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
- “The literary form of the beautiful passage before us leads many to regard it as an early Christian hymn that Paul incorporated into his Epistle.” (Expositors Bible Commentary)
- This is a statement of Christology – a glimpse into the heart of the God-man and our Messiah. The first line makes the statement that we too are called to take on this attitude of complete humility. “The Greek text could be literally rendered, ‘Keep thinking this among you, which [attitdue] was also in Christ Jesus.'” (Commentary)
- We see two very important theological assertions here: 1. Christ is God. “The term morphe denotes the outward manifestation that corresponds to the essence.” 2. He did not prize His equality with God as something to Lord over others.
- He obeyed to the point of death. “This was no ordinary death, but the disgraceful death by crucifixion, a death not allowed for Roman citizens, and to Jews indicative of the curse of God.”
- After His obedience and shameful death, God exalted Him (hyperypsosen – which could be translated “superexalted”) “The reference is to the resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Jesus following his humiliating death, whereby all he had laid aside was restored to him and much more besides.”
- God then gave Him the name above all names and says that every person on earth will one day bow and confess that He is Lord. As a teen I remember reading this and thinking – “I want my knee to bow now” knowing that for some it will be too late when they finally bow at the White Throne Judgment.
- It says do “nothing” out of selfish ambition. What selfish pursuits are keeping you from pouring out your life to follow Christ in humility?
- Our culture tells us we must elevate ourselves, but Christ says to humble ourselves before the Father and He will exalt us when the timing is right. Are you pursuing an attitude of humility and service to others today?
- How can you practically bow your knee to Christ’s way over yours today to bring glory to the Father?
- God is constantly doing an attitude adjustment in my life. When I look at Christ’s attitude, it makes me ask myself questions like…
- Am I willing to obey God’s leading even when it may lead to suffering?
- Do I evaluate my life with the wrong measuring rods – looking for security, ease, and approval rather than humility and obedience?
- How can follow God humbly today? – loving my family, serving others, staying connected with the Holy Spirit to constantly adjust my attitude